The BBC Board or Governors’ have admitted that they have been caught out in a scam run by their own “Real Hustle” show. The show, in which a team of crack conmen extort cash from unsuspecting businesses, targeted the BBC executive structure itself in a daring scam which netted the conmen millions of pounds.
At the start of the scam a gang of plausible looking executives entered the BBC building posing as Director Generals, Chief Operating Officers and Controllers. To gain the trust of their “mark”, as conmen call their target, they initially took the salaries on offer. They then proceeded to use the age old ruse of demanding “Market rates” in order to net themselves salaries between four and seven hundred thousand pounds each. The British Prime Minister earns just over one hundred and forty thousand pounds a year for running the entire country.
The BBC made a number of basic errors. Many real TV executives would jump at the chance to run a major department at the BBC for less than these Hustlers were demanding. Also, given that ITV and CH4 are both in deep financial trouble due to falling advertising revenues and that all of the rest of the independent competition could never afford the high salaries and gold plated pensions for executives offered by the BBC, the BBC still believed that these people could jump ship for more money.
In its defence the BBC pointed to the recent loss of a valuable Jonathan Ross to ITV . The scammers replied that once transferred to ITV it is unlikely that Ross will ever be seen again. “Someone may try to sell Ross on to the USA but it is unlikely that they will understand him and he will probably resurface on Ebay.”